There is a general view that agriculture is not a remunerative profession. But for those who continue to dofarming, there seems to be no choice. Either they leave the fields fallow or sell the lands for quick money.“Reasons for being unremunerative are many like high cost of inputs, inability to break even in profit,marketing etc. But in spite of all these problems there are people like Mr. P. Muniratnam Naidu inKasturikandriga village, Tirupati Rural Mandal, Chittoor district for whom agriculture is lucrative.
Mr. Muniratnam owns about two acres and in the last two years he has been able to construct a newpucca house from the income he got from his land by growing brinjals (common variety available in themarket).
“This is considered big news among many farmers in the region. In fact, after getting to knowMuniratnam’s details, several farmers started getting into brinjal cultivation. Today an entire street inMuniratnam’s locality is named as Brinjal Street,” says Dr. K. Gangadharam, General Secretary, WelfareOrganisation For Rural Development (Word) an NGO in Tirupathi in Chittoor.
Word has spread among farmers in the district on the need to promote the cause of organic andsustainable agriculture.
“The crop was initially grown in 60 cents which was later extended to an acre. In the remaining one acre,groundnut, onions and some vegetables were grown. The income from brinjal was quite noteworthy for me. I harvested nearly 12 tonnes in three months earning about Rs. 96,000 as gross income while the netincome was Rs. 60,000.
“In a year I earned Rs. 2,40,000 from brinjal alone. I make my own inputs after getting trained by Wordand hardly spent much protecting the crop against the dreaded fruit borer that affects it,” says a smilingMuniratnam.
Presently more than 300 farmers in the region are using the indigenous bio inputs such as jivamrita,agniastra and neem astra, according to Dr. Gangadharam.
“Our organisation has been trained by Mr. Subash Palekar, in zero budget farming and in turn we areteaching our farmers to practise the same,” he says.
Jivamrita is a growth enhancer which is used for almost all crops like paddy, vegetables and flowers.It is made by adding 10 kg of desi cow dung and 10 litres of urine dissolved in 200 litres of water. To thistwo kg of jaggery (or four litres of sugarcane juice) and pulse flour each (any pulse) is added and stirredwell.
The solution is kept under a shade for a week to ferment well and then allowed to mix with the runningirrigation water. For the fruit borer pest farmers have been trained to use agniastra or neemastra.
Agniastra is made by soaking one kg of crushed tobacco leaves in 10 litres of desi cow urine.To this, 500 grams of chilli and garlic pulp (ground into a paste) each and 5kg of crushed neem leavesare added. This is diluted in 100 litres of water and sprayed.
Neemastra is made by mixing five litres of cow urine, two 2kg of dung and five kgs of crushed neemleaves in 100 litres of water and allowed to ferment for 24 hours. Later after filtering it is diluted in waterand sprayed on brinjal to control the pests.
Almost all the brinjal growers either market their produce through a weekly organic outlet managed by Word in Tirupathi or also send the produce to Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad markets.
For more information contact
Mr. P. Muniratnam Naidu at Kasturikandriga villageTirupati Rural MandalChittoor DistrictAndhra Pradeshmobile: 09989509877
Dr. K. GangadharamGeneral SecretaryWord, Natural farming schoolChenchuraju KandrigaPichatur Mandal, Chittoor : 517 5589Andhra Pradeshe-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org: 09849059573.